In a scathing attack on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Congress leader and Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday accused him of being "masterly inactive" over Muzaffarnagar riots and adopting a "cynical strategy" of believing that it would divide voters.
He alleged that there was an "unholy alliance" between the ruling Samajwadi Party with the Bharatiya Janata Party that allowed violence to continue earlier this month.
At the same time, Ramesh underlined that he was not accusing Yadav of engineering the riots or equating him with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in this regard.
"I am absolutely shocked, disappointed, angry at his (Akhilesh's) masterly inactivity on Muzaffarnagar. Cynical, absolutely cynical, what he has done," the Rural Development Minister told PTI in an interview.
"I am not accusing Akhilesh Yadav of engineering the riots. I am accusing Akhilesh Yadav of sleeping when the riots were happening," he said when asked whether the UP chief minister had failed to fulfill his "raj dharma" like Modi during the 2002 riots in Gujarat.
Elaborating on his angst against Yadav, Ramesh said, "He is the government. He is the chief minister. Nobody from his government goes to Muzaffarnagar. No words of solace, no words of comfort, no acts of comfort."
Alleging that Yadav "allowed his senior ministers to make all sorts of offensive and obnoxious statements," the Union minister said, "I think Akhilesh Yadav has simply lost it."
The rural development minister, whose government is supported by Samajwadi Party from outside, said, "on Muzaffarnagar, none of us will keep quiet. What he (Akhilesh) has done is inexcusable."
He said the chief minister decided to visit Muzaffarnagar only after the news spread that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhia and Rahul Gandhi were going there.
The chief minister visited the riot-hit areas on Sunday, a day ahead of the visit of the Prime Minister and Gandhis.
Ramesh attacked the Samajwadi Party, describing it as the "greatest friend" of the BJP in the state.
"See the Samajwadi's greatest friend in UP is the BJP and the BJP's greatest friend in UP is Samajwadi. Because Samajwadi claims to speak on behalf of the Muslims and the BJP claims to speak on behalf of the Hindus," he charged.
"Cynical strategy on the part of the Samajwadi Party ...that the traditional alliance of the Muslims and Jats will be broken and (Rashtriya Lok Dal leader and Civil Aviation Minister) Ajit Singh's influence (in western UP) will go down and we (SP) will then emerge as the soldiers of Muslims so what if the BJP will get the Jat votes," Ramesh said.
Ramesh said that in a non-polarised atmosphere like in 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the Congress will get good number of seats.
"When there is polarisation the Samajwadi gets the bulk of the seats and the BJP gets bulk of the seats," he said. He alleged that "there is enough evidence to show that the BJP local leaders fanned the communal riots through the social media."
"And the riots were allowed to continue by Akhilesh, speaks about unholy alliance (between SP and BJP)," he added.